POLICE are hunting 22 men who they would like to question after a mass brawl at Burnley Miners Club.
CCTV images have been released by police showing the suspects - all believed to be local - involved in the violence which broke out after Burnley's match against Sheffield Wednesday at Turf Moor.
Police said innocent bystanders, including children, had to flee for their safety after rival fans clashed inside the club. Broken furniture, a damaged door and three smashed windows were left in their wake as more than half a dozen police cars raced to the scene, off Yorkshire Street.
Club steward Alan Kennedy said that the Sheffield Wednesday fans had visited the club for a number of years and were all CIU (Club and Insitute Union) members, mainly in their 50s and 60s.
The away supporters were gathered in the club’s Benedictine Room.
He said: “There was more than usual - normally we have around 10 or 12 but there was around 16 or 17. They didn’t come wearing any colours, as we always ask them, and were all properly signed in.”
Club door staff were powerless to act when between 30 and 40 intruders forced an entry into the premises, according to Mr Kennedy.
“We don’t particularly welcome away supporters because of these very problems but there has never been any trouble with these lads,” he said.
Police have confirmed that the majority of the images were captured inside the premises, with at least two taken from outside the Princess Royal pub in Yorkshire Street.
Fourteen arrests have already been made in relation to the outbreak of violence at the Plumbe Street venue on Saturday, January 18.
But officers leading Operation Phoebe, launched in the wake of the brawl, believe that more troublemakers should be on their radar.
An initial eight arrests were made, including men aged 17 to 52, from the Burnley, Pendle and Rochdale areas, with three more detained 24 hours later from Burnley, Colne and Bacup.
Police have now confirmed that three more Burnley men - aged 20, 43 and 49 - were also later detained on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
Det Sgt Steven Acres, of Burnley CID, said: “This was a disgraceful incident of disorder and the level of violence involved was horrific.
“We have established that the Burnley Miners was very busy at the time of this attack, and the vast majority of people in there, including men, women and children, were enjoying themselves following the football match. This was a terrifying experience for them.
“What followed was completely unacceptable and left innocent bystanders fleeing for their safety. We have a dedicated team of detectives investigating this incident and the arrests already made show that we are determined to bring those responsible for this disorder to justice.”
Detectives have worked closely with Miners staff and the football club as part of their inquiry and anyone recognising any of those men pictured are asked to contact Det Sgt Acres on 01282 472083 or on the non-emergency number 101.
A Burnley FC statement: “The club supports this appeal by the Police and urges anyone with any information to come forward.
“If any of the offenders are found to be Burnley fans the club will take its own action, as this type of deplorable behaviour needs to be eliminated.”